Last week, we took Senator Claire McCaskill to task for what seemed to be a plan to use Dr. Mehmet Oz (henceforth The Lizard of Oz) as a witness to testify in front of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee about fraudulent diet claims.
We had plenty to say, as did surgeon, scientist and blogger David Gorski, who noted Dr. Oz testifying about weight loss scams? That s like asking Al Capone to testify about U.S. tax policy.
In retrospect, it s not too surprising that we were all fooled, and all credit for this must go to Sen. McCaskill (D-Missouri). It s one thing for us to be fooled, but The Lizard experienced fooled on an entirely astral plane and before Congress. He did not have a good day.
We have been relentlessly critical of Oz, regularly debunking his absurd claims about dietary supplements, especially those involving weight loss.
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom notes, In what must be the ultimate irony, The Lizard himself may well be the only person to actually experience weight loss from this incident. From his wallet.
Senator McCaskill is not someone you want as an enemy. She got Oz to believe that he was going to be an expert witness about bogus weight loss claims. Which, in a way was true, except the claims were about him something he found out just a little too late.
Here are some examples of testimony that may have had Oz muttering Help me, Oprah! to himself:
McCaskill: I don t get why you need to say this stuff, because you know it s not true. The scientific community is almost monolithically against you in terms of the efficacy of the products you called miracles.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.): It s a major problem when people are spending more and more money and they re gaining more and more weight. Either you don t talk about these things at all, or you re going to have to be more specific because right now . . . this is not working.
At this point, The Lizard must have realized that Toto had peeked behind the curtain.
Oz: We were invited down to Washington to testify at a hearing about scams and instead it became all about how much we hate your show.
Dr. Bloom adds, I don t hate his show, because I ve never watched it. I would cheerfully drink my own blood before I did so. But, hate isn t really the right word. Disgust is. Because this is what all of us at ACSH feel when we see him hawking one bottle of junk after another, and taking large amounts of money from people who believe him because he was on Oprah and is good looking. It s really kind of pathetic.
No matter how bad things go, spin, spin, spin.
While Oz said that he heard the message, his subsequent remark would seems to indicate otherwise: I do personally believe in the items that I talk about.
And, I intensively study them. I have given my family these products. . . . If you can lose a pound a week more than you would have lost by using them, it jump-starts you and gets you going. I think it makes sense.
Sen. McCaskill was not satisfied: I m surprised you re defending this. It s something that gives people false hope. I don t see why you need to go there.
Never one to be deterred by facts, Oz said that he was pleased with the hearing.
Dr. Bloom concludes, I guess General Custer was pleased with Little Big Horn too.